With a lot of people now taking their physical health into consideration, there’s bound to be an increase in the demand of wellness coaches, dieticians, fitness trainers and nutritionists. Daily Trust Saturday explores the wellness industry in Nigeria and how far it has grown.
There’s a popular saying that “Health is Wealth”. This has gone on to be more than a mere statement. It’s now a lifestyle being observed by many people. People now spend heavily to get the best hair, nails and skin supplements by subscribing to diet plans, buying more healthy grains instead of starchy foods.
The world of wellness is a very broad one that can accommodate many entrepreneurs who wish to go into that line of business. There are those involved in nutritional wellness -they curate diet plans, meal plans and offer dieting advice to clients for a fee. Others are involved in herbal wellness – they use plants, herbs and roots in their wellness and treatment plans, and offer advice to their clients on what herbs to take to cure a particular illness.
Following the trend on social media today, many Nigerians have decided to jump on the wellness train either as a business or as clients. They’ve decided to take their health seriously and above the regular hospital check-up.
Folake Layeni, a wellness coach in Abuja, told Daily Trust Saturday that the wellness industry has definitely grown over the year. She noted that a lot of Nigerians are now trying other conventional methods to stay healthy.
Folake explains that she has been in the wellness business for a period of 2 ½ years. She describes herself to be her first client as she curated a diet plan for herself which made her lose a lot of weight. “I remember dropping lots of weight and all my friends asking what I had taken to lose so much weight, so I decided to start selling my diet tips and plans to people who needed it.”
Folake’s duty as a wellness coach consists of curating diet plans to fit the needs of her clients, offering health advice and tips relating to dieting, selling weight loss plans and meal recipes to clients whose intent is not just to diet but to cut down on their weight drastically. “My major responsibility to my clients is to make sure regardless of what they eat, it is healthy and highly nutritional. I always tell people that for every meal we eat, they’re healthier ways to prepare the meal or healthier alternatives to choose from,” she said.
According to Folake, business is booming and growing as she has a high number of clientele, both male and female, who patronise her goods and services. “Every time I go on my Facebook live to advertise my business or give a speech on nutritional health, I always have a lot of people willing to subscribe and pay for my diet plans,” she said.
She further told Daily Trust Saturday that her least subscription plan goes for N10,000 and the most expensive N25,000. “The prices of subscription vary because the N10,000 is for clients who wish to just diet and maintain their body size, while the more expensive ones are for people who want to go on a weight loss or lean journey,” she said.
Folake mentioned that in a month she caters to at most 20 -25 clients who have subscribed to her different diet plan. She explained that; “In a month, I can have at least 10/12 people subscribed to the 10,000 plan and 6/8 people subscribe for N25,000 which is the extreme weight loss plan”.
She also added that her subscription plans are paid for on a monthly basis. According to Folake; “we run a monthly plan because we like to give our clients the space of 4 weeks to notice progress. If they do and decide to continue the plan, we are glad to help them on their diet journey, if they don’t, we always respect their choices”.
All her diet plans consist of a meal timetable which indicates what should be eaten and at what time, it also contains a measuring tape, a pack of green tea and a pamphlet which is filled with a lot of dieting and exercising tips. She advises her customers to always weigh themselves before starting the plan. That way, they’re able to note their progress as they go on with the plan.
The wellness expert said her clients are like her children and she guides them all through their subscription plan. “I take my clients and my work very seriously. Once you start a plan with me, I always check-in to make sure that the meal timetable is comfortable for you and that you’re sticking to it. We also ask customers to send in their weekly measurements to see what progress they’ve made and pictures when the weight loss is fully visible.”
She, however, ensures that from time to time, she checks on customers who have finished their plan to make sure they don’t revert to their old eating habits.
Folake, who considers her profession to be as essential as that of a doctor, noted that “Many diseases such as diabetes and obesity can be controlled if people seek nutritional advice from dieticians, nutritionists or wellness coaches like me.”
She further explained that; “dieting isn’t just about weight loss, it’s a lifestyle that should be practised. It helps to boost the client’s confidence as a person, your skin will glow and you will look more refreshed and healthier when you’re consuming the appropriate nutrients your body need.”
Although business is great for Folake, she, however, says she has come across a few challenges in her line of business. The biggest being that customers are never ready to be patient to see their progress. “A lot of times, customers will call after two weeks and complain that they expected to lose about 10kg in a week but have only lost 3kg. Losing 10kg within a week isn’t the issue, the meal plan wasn’t curated for that kind of process,” she said.
She further explained that “most customers who can’t pay for the weight loss plan always end up with the diet plan and expect to gain the benefits of the weight loss plan which is not possible.” However, Folake believes in offering the best quality of service to her clients so when issues as such arise, she tries to see how she can spice up their diets with meals that will provide the results they’re looking for.
Nnenna Ekezie, another entrepreneur in the wellness industry, also told Daily Trust Saturday that there is so much profit in the wellness industry. Nnenna runs an online salad and smoothie bar. She offers strictly vegetarian meals to people looking to incorporate healthy meals into their eating habits.
Nnenna has been in the business for only a year and she speaks nothing but good about it. “I remember before I started, I got so worried that people won’t patronise me because I was selling vegetarian food. Starting the business and seeing how much I made changed that narrative for me,” she said.
She offers different salad bowls and smoothies that go for different prices. The prices of her meals depend on the ingredients used. “A regular salad bowl with just vegetables go for N2000, anyone that comes with protein can be between 2500 – 3500 depending on the protein used.
“In a day, I can receive between 8 – 15 orders and that gives me joy.” She said a lot of her customers were through the referral of other customers who enjoyed her salads, and she tries to build relationships with her clients by requesting feedbacks on the meals they received.
Just like Folake, Nnenna has also come across challenges in her business. However, she states that the biggest challenge right now is the increase in food prices in the market. “With the rise in food prices, I’m definitely bound to increase the price of my foods but then, I have to consider how much people will be willing to pay for just a plate of salad,” she said.